I do not have a cell phone.
A few years ago, this made me sort of an odd duck at parties. Now, not having a cell phone means I'm positively a relic if not a true freak of nature deserving of shunning by the community. Everyone has a cell phone: my 77-year-old mother-in-law, my mail man, and every 12-year-old at the bus stop. To announce that you do not have a cell phone is almost like announcing that you still clean your clothes with a tub and washboard. (No, I don't do that.)
At first, I avoided a cell phone because of the cost factor and because I truly couldn't see any dire need for it in my life. But as the years progressed, I found myself becoming increasingly irritated with ringtones going off at restaurants and theaters. I bristled angrily when I found myself having to listen to people describe their colonoscopies in graphic detail while I was standing in line at the post office. Cell phone culture was making us ruder and more self-absorbed, I decided, and the stubborn side of me vowed not to buy one on principle alone. And so far, I haven't given in.
What's it like to live without a cell phone? To me, there is a real bliss that comes with not being able to be reached. Sure, if I had a phone, I could turn it off if I didn't want anyone calling me. But I know too few people who manage to pull that off to think I'd be able to.
Not having a cell phone means never having to answer the phone at the grocery store to field Mr. Pop Rocks' last-minute pleas for Ben & Jerry's. Not having a cell phone means never being on an airplane and feeling the urge to call someone only to say, "We just landed." (Oh really? Who cares.) Not having a cell phone means never having to run frantically around a room searching for it while it rings, like a cat chasing its own tail. Not having a cell phone means not humiliating yourself when "I'm Too Sexy" starts playing out of your purse during a conversation with your mortgage broker. Not having a cell phone means getting to be alone, really alone, whenever I please.
I don't text or worry over a bad connection. I can't know about or concern myself with overage charges, unused minutes, and friends in my network Instead, at the doctor's office, at the airport, in the car, or at the store, I listen to my favorite music, work out my problems in my head or out loud, read, and - very often - sit in dreamy silence doing nothing at all.
The rebel in me has relented at bit. While I'm still not interested in getting a cell phone, I certainly can understand those who couldn't live without theirs. And I can't even say I would never, ever purchase one. The truth is, if Mr. Pop Rocks and I ever breed, I'm guessing there's a good chance I'll relent. But until that day comes, I'll relish in the quiet comfort that comes with sitting at a restaurant with friends and knowing that when a phone goes off, there's simply no way it could be mine.
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